Thursday, August 9, 2012

Adventure with Maggalicious Eaton

Day 1: Maggie arrives safely in BrisbaneAustralia. Wait, hold on a second...Calee, don't you live in Sydney, Australia?! Yes, I do. Well then, why would Maggie want to fly there? Great question. There was a ton of fog in Sydney the morning of Maggie's arrival, so her flight had to land in Brisbane to refuel and wait for the fog to lift. Apparently, there hasn’t been fog like that in Sydney since last summer. Wonderful. Obviously, had Maggie been flying the plane she would have just powered through the fog and made it here on time. Anyway, Maggie arrived in Sydney 7 1/2 hours after her scheduled landing time. Needless to say, it was a very long travel experience that I am willing to bet Maggie would hope not to repeat. I, finally, get a call from an unknown number and am so excited to answer it. I answer my phone as patiently as a dog that sees their owner getting the leash out for a walk...only to be hung up on, twice. A little while later, I receive a text saying, "IAMHEREMAGGIE." Well that is lovely, Maggie. Where is here? Sydney? The airport train station? Kings Cross train station? Have you magically found my apartment that I forgot to give you the address to?

Side note: Probably should have given it to her, in case something like this happened, but oh well. I, also, later found out that Maggie had only enough change for a text and not a phone call, thus why I got hung up on.

I get a call a little while later from Maggie. I go out to meet her by the train station, which is a short distance walk to my apartment and the adventure begins…officially. We get to my apartment and guess what!? The elevator is broken. At this point, Maggie asks me what floor I live on. I start laughing and in between chuckles say, “the 4th.” A man comes out from behind a door, which I assume leads to the elevator mechanical stuff, and says it should be working. We get in and it “worked.” It had a little trouble with opening the door, but we didn’t get stuck!! BONUS!! Once Maggie got settled, showered, and fed, we headed to the Chinese Gardens in Darling Harbor with my friend, Clare. After that, we went to Helm for a drink and then to the aquarium, which is right next door. When we had finished at the aquarium, Maggie had started to hit her wall. We walked back to my apartment and went to bed pretty early. Good thing, too, because the next day we packed a lot of stuff in!

Day 2: We walked through the Royal Botanical Gardens, past the Opera House and Circular Quay. Then we met Karen for lunch in Westfield Mall, where the Sydney Tower is located. After lunch, we went up to the tower. Next, we headed back to Circular Quay to get the ferry to Manly. Granted, it was freezing, but I really want to show Maggie at least 1 beach in Sydney. After we sat/walked on the beach for about 20 minutes (my feet turned blue haha), we found a place to warm up. We had a few beers and pizza at the Steyne Hotel right across from Manly Beach. It had an awesome fire and a feeling of intimacy and community. Then, on the way back to catch the ferry we stopped at Max Brenner’s (a chocolate shop) and shared some chocolate fondue with fresh fruit! Yummy!

Day 3: Got up and headed to Paddy’s Markets and got our cheesy, tourist gift buying on. When we had finished shopping, we went to the Powerhouse Museum and got to see the Chronicles of Narnia exhibit. There were no photos allowed, but it was so cool! Gotta love being a nerd! We rushed back to pack for the weekend in Katoomba/Blue Mountains and avoid traffic (who are we kidding?! It’s Sydney. There is always traffic.). We headed to the car in the basement, packed it up, and went to get in only to realize Maggie was on the driver’s side and I on the passenger’s side. Good work, ladies haha J. By the time we got to the house, it was completely dark out. I kind of wish the neighbors had taken a video of us trying to find our way into the house or at the very least got to watch us find our way. Obviously, we had a key, but finding the pathway to the doorway from the driveway was comical to say the least.

Side note: Going to Katoomba is like going up north for us back home (not much street lighting).

Once we finished breaking in, we turned on the heat and left for the grocery store since we could more or less see our breath in the house. We just happened to find the liquor store before the grocery store, so we stopped there to grab some beer for the weekend. After we got back from the stores, we decided to watch a movie. Once we figured out the TV and put the volume as high as it would allow to faintly drown out the mechanical buzz that was pulsating from the speakers, and covered ourselves in blankets, we were both passed out by 10:00pm. Do we know how to party or what!?

Day 4: We both got up pretty early, although, oddly, it had nothing to do with the roosters and more of the time we had gone to sleep. We had a nice, leisurely morning and got to see the house in the light. It was beautiful!!! Later, we headed to the Blue Mountains and “hiked” around for a couple hours and then headed back. When we got back to the house, there were cockatoos, everywhere. They were on the roof, the deck, the trees, and all over the yard. I had way too much fun taking pictures, so there are, obviously, way too many. After it got dark, we headed into town for dinner.

Day 5: We got up, got our stuff together, and headed to Featherdale Wildlife Park. We got to see a number of different animals that are native to Australia, pet and feed kangaroos and koalas! After our afternoon at Featherdale, we headed back to Sydney and had another quiet night in.

Day 6: I woke up not feeling too well, so we abandoned our plans to go to the zoo and stayed in to watch the Olympics. For dinner, we headed down to the Woolloomooloo Dwarfs and I treated Maggie to her birthday dinner! Later, we packed our bags and got organized to leave for Perth early the next morning.

Day 7: CAMPERVAN DAY HAS ARRIVED. Maggie and I got up before the sun rose and flew to Perth where we grabbed a cab to take us to Travelers Autobarn. At this point, I was a nervous wreck waiting to see if I could figure out manual or not. We got insurance and were shown how to make the bed, where the pots and pans were to cook (HUGE joke because Maggie and I had no plans of poisoning ourselves on this trip with attempting to cook out of a campervan), how to check the oil and water levels, and then we were off. I am now shaking, since there was nothing else to do but drive the van out of there. We get in and I start to attempt what I thought was the impossible. I start the car perfectly and roll out of garage and turn the van, attempt to get the car to accelerate and BAM…I stall the car…twice. I am starting to freak out and then I look down at the speedometer and realize I had forgotten to take the emergency/parking brake off. Good work, Calee. I take this off and we get to Lesley and Gavin’s seamlessly after that!!!! I was so excited I did it and Maggie was a pro at keeping me calm and patient with myself.

Side note: I should mention that I did have one professional lesson because the person who said he could teach me ending up not having time to do it.

We arrived, parked, and Lesley came down to get us. She took us up to their apartment; we walked through the door and just about dropped our bags. Their view is gorgeous!!!!!!! To start, it has a 180 degree view of the ocean, huge balcony, and it was sunny with clear, blue skies! We got settled in and had a cup of tea. Lesley then showed us how to get into Freemantle using the free bus and showed us around town for a bit while we waited for Gavin to get done with work. Once he was done, we went to Little Creatures Brewery and had a delicious dinner. The brewery was amazing and the restaurant and bar area was inside the brewery, which I thought was amazing! We headed back to their apartment and Maggie and I were exhausted, so we headed to bed…at 9:00pm. Again, party animals!!

Day 8: Because Maggie and I went to bed before most children do, we both woke up pretty early. When we both had gotten ready and packed up our stuff, we headed to Margaret River. On the way, we stopped at the Busselton Jetty. For those of you who don’t know, it is basically just like a pier but EXTREMELY long. There will be pictures on Facebook, but I will say that Maggie and I had to find a way to keep ourselves entertained on the walk back. We went into the little town grabbed some lunch (we both will never eat fish and chips again in our lifetime haha). When we got to Margaret River, we stopped at the visitor center and got a lot of help from a man who clearly has gone over the map he gave us one too many times. He probably could have done the whole thing blind folded. He basically helped us figure out where to stay and planned our entire day for us!  We went to the campervan and of course got lost on the way there. Finally, we found it with a woman laughing at us because we had circled the park so many times looking for the office. Let’s face it, Maggie and I were close to tears because we were laughing so hard so I don’t blame that woman for chuckling at us. We set up our bed and walked the short walk into town for some dinner. We had a light dinner a few beers and then headed back to the van to get some shut eye.

Day 9: Maggie and I not only wake up to rain, but also we had to use the restroom and were freezing. Needless to say, we held it as long as we could (an hour, which is pretty impressive, in my opinion) and then bolted to the bathrooms. At this point, I was wide awake and had to coax Maggie to get ready, which as some of you know is like trying herd cats. We headed down all the way to the bottom of Australia (where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean) to Augusta which has the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. It is the tallest lighthouse on Australia’s mainland and is absolutely stunning. After we went on a tour of the lighthouse and the surrounding estate, Maggie and I headed back up through Margaret River. We went to a couple wineries, a brewery, a couple of chocolate factories, an olive oil and soap factory and a coffee place that had many different kinds of coffee and the BEST chocolate chai lattes. We packed a lot in and had to get on the road by 4:30pm so we didn’t have to drive back in the dark for the whole drive. The drive back got a little boring when it got dark, but Lesley and Gavin had dinner waiting for us when we walked in the door. It was the perfect end to a long day of being a tourist.

Day 10: This morning we woke up to rain again, and thought against about making our way to Rottnest Island. It is one of the most highly recommended things to do when you are in Perth/Freemantle, but we didn’t want to spend the money on the ferry and bike rental if there was a large chance it was raining on the island. It stopped raining inland midmorning, so we thought we would head into Freemantle and shop in the markets and look at a couple museums. On our way there, we walked along the beach because it had turned into a beautiful day!! After a nice afternoon in Freemantle, Maggie and I headed back to Little Creatures Brewery for a couple beers and a souvenir. Lesley met up with us after she was done painting and we planned what we were going to do for dinner. They cooked us a beautiful seafood meal and I peeled and deveined my first prawn/shrimp!!

Day 11: Our last day in Perth had arrived, s we got up packed and got ready to leave. We, fo course, got lost when we dropped it off and just barely got there before they closed and just in time to board our flight…stressful, but we made it!! We flew to Melbourne, found our hostel, which was another adventure to say the least. We headed to a bar we had passed on the way to the hostel for dinner and watched the Olympics. USA!!

Day 12: The next morning we both woke up pretty early (as per usual on this trip since we didn’t stay up past midnight the whole time). We heard the Melbourne Aquarium was pretty good, so we headed there first. It was probably 100 times better than the Sydney Aquarium and I love the aquarium here! We spent 2 ½ hours there and didn’t even realize it until we looked at our phones to check the time. Next we went to Chill- on Bar. It’s a bar where everything is made out of ice and there weren’t any pictures allowed, so I can’t show you what awesome Eskimos we made, but we looked ridiculous! After that, we bought tickets for a river shuttle. It was just ok, mostly because we couldn’t really hear what the guide was saying. We got to bring a bottle of wine on the tour and we kind of figured out most of landmarks ourselves, so all-in-all still a win. J A little while after the river cruise was over, it started to rain so we headed to the nearest bar, P.J. O’Brian’s we could find and ended up staying there for a few drinks and my birthday dinner!!!!

Side note: We weren’t together for our birthday’s so we celebrated while we were together we did!

Day 13: I woke up and realized Maggie was leaving the next day, so obviously I did what any normal friend would do and hustled her out of our lovely hostel room and packed in as much as possible! We headed to the Rod Laver Arena on the free Melbourne shuttle (which was amazing and if I ever go back I will do the entire tour). My dad had gone to the arena last time we were there and everyone else was too tired. I had gone with the intent to get him something because last time the T-shirt he got was a weird Aussie size and barely fit my sister. Long story short…really ugly merchandise so no souvenir. Oh well, I’ll find something better!! Since we were right by the AFL/Melbourne Cricket grounds we decided to go to the sports museum that was inside the building. It was pretty good, but had we known I think we would have chosen to spend more time at the Melbourne Museum, which we went to after. There, we saw that Batman Rises was showing at the IMAX at the Melbourne Museum and went to go see it. IT WAS AMAZING!!! For our last dinner, we found a whole in the wall sushi place and it was delicious and surprisingly cheap.

Day 14: The last day, of course, came too soon, but we flew back to Sydney and said our good-byes just the same. It was a fantastic trip and we have so many good memories and experiences from it!

Cheers x

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